Life, death and a sense of humour during great flood

Cyclists and pedestrians on the closed A27 east of Chichester

Cyclists and pedestrians on the closed A27 east of Chichester

SARDINES An aerial view of Southsea to the south of the railway line between Fratton and Portsmouth & Southsea 		        Picture: Barry Cox collection

Imagine if they had done to us what we did to Berlin

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It was two decades ago this week that historic Chichester was in the middle of its worst flooding disaster for more than a century.

For several days and nights a battle was waged to save the city from being swamped after the swollen river Lavant burst its banks not once but three times in a week.

The great British sense of humour flourished during the Chichester floods of January 1994. This picture was taken on the A259 Bognor Regis to Chichester road.

The great British sense of humour flourished during the Chichester floods of January 1994. This picture was taken on the A259 Bognor Regis to Chichester road.

More than 300 firefighters and National Rivers Authority staff worked around the clock to save the city centre from catastrophic flooding.

The firefighters were supported by a fleet of old Green Goddess fire engines and an emergency, 24-hour control room manned by 30 staff.

Main roads to the east, including the A27 and the Chichester-Bognor Regis road were closed, leaving Chichester virtually marooned.

Twenty years ago today, a huge pumping operation to shift water away from the Lavant, using more than 20 Green Goddesses, was launched.

Undertakers donned wellies to ensure cremations went ahead at Chichester crematorium during the crisis

Undertakers donned wellies to ensure cremations went ahead at Chichester crematorium during the crisis

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